Actor Faryal Mehmood needs a reality check — she recently made some very uncalled for remarks about actor Hareem Farooq's weight during a talkshow, saying she wasn't wrong in body shaming Farooq because "she'd been fat herself". Losing weight doesn't give you the licence to shame other people.
The actor appeared on Time Out with Ahsan Khan alongside singer Jahanzaib Ahmad on August 7 and revisited a "joke" she'd made about Farooq when the host asked Mehmood about it. "[You joked that] Hareem Farooq won't fit in a car?" Khan asked Mehmood. "When and why did you say this?"
If Mehmood had been caught off guard by Khan's question, she really didn't show it, neither did she show a lot of remorse for that matter. "I said this on the show Mazaaq Raat," the actor explained. "They asked me if I had a car with three seats and could only choose a few people to sit in the car with me, who would I choose. The rest were my friends, so I only took their names.
"The show host then asked whether I would have Hareem in the car with me and I said no and then cracked a small joke, saying that Hareem wouldn't fit. Hareem really minded this joke of mine," said Mehmood with a little wink at Khan. She seems to be ignoring the fact that anyone would have minded the "joke".
The actor went on to explain how her comments were all in 'good humour'. "This was a joke of course," she said. "I used to be fat, why would I make fun of someone else for this? I was the one who wouldn't fit anywhere. No need to take this so personally. Just lose some weight, it's not that hard."
Khan didn't let go of the topic easily, prodding Mehmood further about her views on body-shaming. "You don't even have to be slimmer [to do well in the entertainment industry] of course," he said to Mehmood. "People obviously do mind body shaming."
"Yeah, you don't have to [be slim], she's doing so well already," the actor replied. "Yes, it is considered bad, but because I have been through the journey, I know what body shaming does. If former fat people make jokes about body shaming, it isn't a big deal," she added, bafflingly.
"If I hadn't already been fat, then people could have been like what does she know? But if I have gone from fat to slim then yeah I do know what I'm talking about. I know from firsthand experience that people can easily lose weight," Mehmood explained..
Clearly, the actor strongly believes that her own history with weight loss gives her the moral and social go-ahead to pass judgments and rude comments in the guise of 'jokes' about other people's weight — without it being considered a judgment at all. We're going to be the bearers of bad news and let her know that isn't the case. Everyone's journey is different and entirely personal when it comes to their bodies. Telling someone it's "not a big deal" to lose weight is an incredibly diminishing statement and shows a sad disregard for another person's sense of worth and struggles.
To begin with, the idea that she can tell people to lose weight — on national TV nonetheless — is ridiculous. Why should anyone have to lose weight? This might be shocking to hear for Mehmood, but not everyone ties their self worth to their appearance or weight. Lots of people are happy the way they are — as they should be.
Even if they want to lose weight, not everyone has the same weight loss journey. It might be easy for someone to shed a few numbers on the weighing scale, but that might not be the case for everybody else. The "fat to fit" mentality is pretty out of date. While the whole world — and the fashion industry— is putting in the effort to acknowledge, represent and respect all body types, it's time we also leave behind old-fashioned notions of ideal beauty.
The idea that Mehmood is somehow qualified to body shame people because she once weighed more than she does now is laughable. No, Faryal Mehmood, losing weight does not give you the licence to shame other people. You're not being funny or relatable with your crass jokes, you're being a bully.
As an actor and entertainer, Farooq has frequently fallen prey to limited perceptions that equate a slender figure with beauty worthy of being seen on television screens. "For the longest time I had people telling me I was too big or too fat to be in the media and especially in front of the camera," she wrote on Instagram back in 2016. "After being blessed to have worked with some amazing people and receiving immense love from my fans, who judged me more on my talent than my 'body', I realised what was really important. that is your health, mind, heart and soul. The rest is all secondary," she had written.
While the actor has lost weight over a span of her career, she's stressed that her transformation isn't one from "fat to fit" but rather a journey towards a better physical and inner-self. In an interview with Images, Farooq had highlighted that the inner self "includes energy, stamina, feeling good about yourself and self-esteem".
Your self worth is determined by far more than your weight but that doesn't mean it's okay to make jokes about the way people look. No matter what they look like, people will take jokes about their appearance "personally" because those jokes are rude and demeaning.
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn't fit one particular mould. We need to leave body shaming behind and stop using people's appearances as fodder for unfunny jokes.